Birthday Girl

You knew I had to write a little something in honor of the White Gold Queen herself, Michelle Pfeiffer, on her 64th birthday today, April 29, 2022. I’ve blithered on before about how happy it makes me to share a birthday month and zodiac sign with my favorite actress, so I’ll spare you further incessant rambling. The short version is that with my birthday on the 23rd, it’s always felt special to be able to celebrate alongside my acting idol, just six days apart.

Michelle has talked at length about her insecurities and anxieties, her introversion and hyper-self-awareness, all traits I share with her. It’s a Taurus thang, honestly. But those traits form the backbone of what makes her such a special talent, in my estimation. She’s always searching, always investing her all into every role, asking the important questions and digging deep into the soul of her characters in order to make them feel absolutely, tangibly real.

This week’s extension new interview with The Hollywood Reporter touches on all of this. It’s heartening to see others she’s worked with describe her in much the same way I do. Michelle also notes how her style—asking a lot of questions is part of how she gets into a role—rubbed a lot of directors the wrong way early in her career. George Miller, whom she and her good friend Cher clashed with on the set of The Witches of Eastwick, comes to mind. But Michelle continued to persevere, even in the face of prickly producers and directors who weren’t always receptive to a young, intelligent, and instinctive performer who also happened to be widely described as the most beautiful woman in the world. That shouldn’t have been a dichotomy of any significance, but in the 1980s it certainly was.

So, as we celebrate another orbit around the sun for this legendary star, let’s also celebrate just how far she’s come in her career and how remarkably, unbelievably, consistently great she’s been for more than forty years now. It feels entirely appropriate that her standout performance in the new limited series The First Lady is the one thing critics agree is excellent about the show. She’s still got it, folks.

The photographs in this piece were taken by Austin Hargrave for the new Hollywood Reporter interview. They’re some of the best photos of Michelle I’ve seen in ages, which is an astonishing statement when you consider how the woman never takes a bad photo. Stunning stuff, and the interview is worth your time, too.

Viva La Pfeiffer!

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